SmugMug is a photo-sharing site and image-hosting service that allows users to upload both HD photos and videos to their SmugMug sites. The company was launched in 2002 and offers a toolset that facilitates the selling of digital and print media for both amateur and professional photographers. SmugMug allows photographers to control the privacy and security of each of their published photos, and has options for users to share photos and galleries through a social networking interface.
- Account options
- Customized portfolios
- Control over privacy and security
SmugMug offers four user accounts at different price points, so there is an account to suit every type of photographer. Every SmugMug account includes unlimited photo uploads and unlimited storage. Two petabytes of SmugMug photos per account are stored and backed up on the Amazon S3 service.
All SmugMug accounts have the same limits on file size:
- 50 MB maximum photo file size
- 3 GB maximum video file size
- 1080p video quality
- 20 minute video length
SmugMug offers the option to create customized online portfolios, and share photos and galleries through SmugMug's social networking interface. All SmugMug accounts are ad free, minimizing clutter and distraction while managing photos and videos. There are several ways to upload photos and videos, including using Lightroom, Aperture, iPhoto and more. You'll also be able to order prints and gift items such as canvases, mousepads, t-shirts, greeting cards and photo albums.
If you opt for one of SmugMug's professional-level accounts, you'll have the option to add your own personalized watermarks to your photos, which enhances your ability to protect your work from being used without your permission. You can also sell prints and digital downloads of your photos through the SmugMug interface. You'll be able to determine the selling prices of each photo.
SmugMug has options to allow control over the privacy and security of published and unpublished photos. There are options to create both account-level and gallery-level passwords, as well as hidden galleries. There is also a friends and family social networking interface for members of the service to use. This allows you to share photos only with people you know.
SmugMug's safety and security features include the following:
- Every image backed up with Amazon Web Services
- Cloud storage to allow access anytime from anywhere
- Ability for users maintain copyright of their images
- Enabling right-click protection on images
- Limiting display size to keep images safe
- Adding custom watermarks
SmugMug offers several ways to learn about photography or enhance your existing photography skills. There is a community forum where you can get feedback, tips and in-depth support from other users. You'll also be able to access live online training, monthly podcasts, video tutorials and webinars hosted by photography professionals. In addition, SmugMug advertises 24/7/365 real-human support for all users and features an in-depth Help Center on the site.
- File size limits
- No free accounts
- No photo editing
There are file size limits on all SmugMug user accounts, so you may have to decrease the resolution or print size of your photos and videos before uploading. Photo file sizes cannot exceed 50 MB. For videos, the file size cannot exceed 3 GB, the quality cannot exceed 1080p and clips cannot exceed 20 minutes. These restrictions may be a concern if you'd prefer to display the highest-quality versions of your work.
While SmugMug has four different price plans, there is no free account option. If you're on a tight budget, you may want to consider a photo sharing site that offers a free account. In addition, some of SmugMug's plans are quite expensive: the cheaper plans are $40-60.00 per year, but if you want to access the features in the highest-level account, it will cost you $300.00 per year.
SmugMug doesn't offer any photo editing features - you'll need to use another software or program to edit your photos before uploading them to SmugMug. This means you may spend more money purchasing editing software, and more time working on your photos in another program before adding them to SmugMug's galleries.
The Bottom Line
SmugMug offers several features to help aspiring and professional photographers showcase work, enhance skills and sell prints. Although there are file size limits, the ad-free experience combined with the ability to customize and share galleries makes it easy to create professional, attractive photo collections. SmugMug also has the most thorough privacy and security features out of all the photo sharing sites we reviewed.